It's August and my bumper crop of basil growing in patio pots is an endless supply of a quick garnish or homemade pesto but also gave inspiration to this recipe, a combination of sweet and spicy flavors.

It also happens to be a great time to visit your local farmers market or stand, brimming with a grand selection of freshly harvested fruit and veggies at their peak. Sun-ripened deep red plums caught my attention with visions of dessert, perfect for a summer dinner invitation to a friend's house. My hostess prepared grilled chicken along with fresh green beans, beets and spaghetti squash she chose from the weekly market.

The finale was my rustic tart, devoured by all. A touch of ginger and sweet basil added a magic combination of robust flavors to this delicious, impromptu fruit tart.

Summer entertaining is and can't help but to be, more relaxed. Set up a cloth-covered table, chairs, and colorful cushions in the backyard, add a bouquet of road-side-picked daisies, candles, pretty glasses and dishes.

Then add good friends and food!

Prepare crostata late morning so there's nothing to do after dinner but sit back and enjoy the fireflies and crickets.


Advertisement

RED PLUM, GINGER & BASIL CROSTATA

Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

1 disc pastry pie dough, availed in refrigerated section (choose no preservative and non-hydrogenated oil)

6-7 ripe dark red plums, 4 cups sliced

1 tsp grated ginger root

2 tbsp natural sugar, separated

Pinch pink Himalayan salt

1 egg white

2 large basil leaves, chiffonade

PREPARATION

Remove pastry dough from fridge, preheat oven according to package directions. Unroll pastry disc leaving on parchment paper; place atop a pizza pan. Using a fork, prick pastry dough around and center.

Slice plums in half, remove pit then slice into 1/4-inch-wide slices until you have 4 cups full; add to a medium mixing bowl. Add grated ginger, 1 tablespoon sugar, salt, then combine with a spoon; let sit for 10 minutes to meld.

Brush pastry disc with egg white, place plum mixture evenly spread into center leaving a 2-inch border at edge. Working your way around, fold edge of dough inward over plums; press to seal.

Brush edge with egg white and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of sugar.

Bake for 12-14 minutes (check package directions) until edges are light golden.

Let crostata cool (cover with a clean sheet of parchment paper and leave sitting at room temp) until ready to serve. Just before serving, prepare basil chiffonade (once cut, the leaves turn brown). Stack leaves together, roll tightly, then slice into thin ribbons; sprinkle.

Cut into six wedges and serve-let the crostata's flavors shine on their own or serve with a small dollop of crème fraiche.